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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

MEDIA RELEASE

8 August 2018

Strengthening bi-lateral relationships on veterans’ issues

STRENGTHENING bi-lateral relationships and understanding veterans’ issues will form part of the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester’s visit to France for the centenary of the Battle of Amiens commemorations this week.

Mr Chester will meet with Canadian Minister of Veterans’ Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, UK Government Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the Right Honourable Jeremy Wright, and Under Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Lord Ashton of Hyde Thomas Henry Ashton.

“Many of the challenges faced by our former serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families are also being experienced by those in other countries,” Mr Chester said.

“It is important we engage with our closest international partners on their experiences, challenges, and successes, with a view of improving the essential services and support we provide our veterans and their families.

Ahead of the centenary of the Battle of Amiens commemorations, Mr Wright and Lord Ashton will visit the centrepiece of Australia’s Anzac Centenary 2014–18, the Sir John Monash Centre which re-tells the selfless contribution of Australian men and women on the Western Front during the First World War.

Mr Chester will also lay a wreath and assist the president of the ceremony in the ‘Ravivage de La Flamme’ or rekindling of the flame ceremony, which happens every evening at the Arc de Triomphe, and is held in memory of all soldiers who have died in war.

“The flame on the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Arc de Triomphe has been burning uninterrupted for almost 95 years—a milestone that will coincide with centenary of the First World War Armistice on 11 November this year,” Mr Chester said.

“The flame serves a constant reminder of the sacrifice of an unknown French soldier who gave his life during the First World War, and as a signal to the rest of the world of the effects of the war.

“In Australia, we must never forget the service and sacrifice of the more than two million people who have worn with pride the uniforms of the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force for more than a century.”

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Whil Prendergast: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon. Darren Chester MP, Canberra.

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.